Economic Advisor to the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Dr Clyde Mascoll said he would not be fooled by the controversial Minister of Agriculture
Dr David Estwick, who has deemed his own administration as a failure economically.
The outspoken Estwick has openly criticized the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration’s economic policies on many occasions, most recently last week when he told Barbados TODAY Government’s short to medium term economic recovery plan had failed and the Freundel Stuart administration was facing an uphill task in seeking to correct its errors.
However, speaking during the a BLP St Philip South branch organized panel discussion at Hilda Skeene Primary School yesterday, Mascoll compared Estwick to a “spoilt child that could not get his way”, and urged voters to pay no attention to his last-minute posturing.
He contended that even though Estwick had openly contradicted the Stuart administration on its economic policies, he continued to vote with his parliamentary colleagues in support of those very policies.
“This is a character who gets his way like a spoilt child, behaves a particular kind of way and then goes into Parliament having talked the way he has talked and still votes with the Government. He is a special character and he can’t trick me,” Mascoll told party supporters.
In his interview with Barbados TODAY last week Estwick, the former Minister of Economic Affairs, reminded Barbadians that three years ago he had offered an alternative economic recovery strategy, which was rejected by that Stuart-led Cabinet.
He also remained adamant that his main proposal that Government should negotiate a US$5 billion sinking fund from the United Arab Emirates to wipe out the country’s debt had been the best option to restore economic growth and sustainability.
“What I will stand behind is the analysis as to why the economic policies and strategies we pursued would not have worked and why we will have to refinance and restructure the debt. This should have been done much earlier when it was easier to do. It is more difficult now because our debt metrics have deteriorated significantly since 2010,” Estwick said at the time, adding that the country’s risk profile had also deteriorated; the arrears picture had worsened and so had the fiscal situation.
“The Central Bank continues to finance the Treasury, [while] all the while the economy realized chronic anaemic growth and foreign inflows. This is what I will stand behind,” he stressed then.
Last night, Mascoll said he was in full agreement that Government was indeed following the wrong economic path. However, he dismissed Estwick’s debt strategy as “ignorance from the start”.
“What he proposed as a debt strategy would not work. You cannot convert all of your debt, which is local, to foreign. We only have four loans that are foreign, so why would you convert all of your local debt to foreign debt and then have to look for foreign exchange to service that debt?” argued Mascoll, who holds in a doctorate in economics, and specializes in public finance.
This notwithstanding, the BLP economist and former DLP political leader contended that Estwick would likely have done “a better job than Chris Sinckler”, arguing that the under-pressure Minister of Finance was bankrupt of ideas and continued to rely on the “failed strategy of relentless taxation”.
“The economy of Barbados has not grown. As a matter of fact, the economy of Barbados is smaller than what it was in 2007. The reason why this is so is because the Government use the one strategy of taxing and taxing and taxing people,” he said.